February 1, 2022

Nestle, Coca-Cola and Unilever are among a number of major brands that have collaborated in an effort to boost recycling efforts in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Recycling Alliance (MAREA) has united ten major brands in the food and beverages industry to drive the country’s sustainability agenda.

MAREA pledged to reach a minimum recycling rate of 25% of its members’ packaging volumes by 2025.

It is formed of 10 FMCG brands in Malaysia including Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Dutch Lady Milk Industries, Etika Group of Companies, Fraser & Neave, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Spritzer, Tetra Pak and Unilever.

Efforts will increase both the collection and recycling of packaging waste and promote circular use of packaging in Malaysia.

MAREA general manager Pauline Goh said: “MAREA brings together leading FMCG companies which are individually and now collectively taking significant and tangible steps to reduce plastic waste challenges and improve the recycling culture in Malaysia.

“Through this alliance and as more members come on board, we can leverage each other’s expertise and knowledge to initiate activities that will contribute to increase collection and recycling along the value chain.”

MAREA is the first ever Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) association in Malaysia and is chaired by Nestle Malaysia CEO Juan Aranols.

The association formally launched on January 21 following its establishment last year.

Nestle Coca-Cola Unilever collaborate to boost recycling in Malaysia
Kaleidoscope of coastal microplastics. Credit: Dan Lewis / Unsplash

MAREA’s first phase of recycling efforts

Food and beverage packaging is the main focus of its first phase which includes the collection, separation and recycling of the four major post-consumer packaging materials.

These are polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, used beverage cartons (UBC), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packs and flexible plastic packaging.

Speaking at the official launch Mr Aranols stressed that environmental conservation is “a key priority.”

“Plastic waste is an important environmental challenge and is a problem in Malaysia and across South East Asia,” he added.

“We have to protect the planet’s natural resources and preserve biodiversity and the ecosystems that support many of our communities.”

MAREA aims to begin its efforts in the first quarter of 2022 with pilot projects in Selangor, Penang and Perak.

The alliance celebrated its first anniversary during its launch ceremony on January 21 which was attended by officials in Malaysia.

Minister of environment and water (KASA) Dato’ Sri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man officiated the event alongside the deputy minister of housing and local government (KPKT) Dr Haji Ismail bin Haji Abd Muttalib.

The KASA minister described the ministry as “a key driver in steering efforts to attain Sustainable Malaysia 2030” including its goal to reaching a recycling rate of 25% for post-consumer plastic packaging by 2025.

“In line with this, we are heartened by MAREA’s proactive pledge and voluntary initiatives which are very much aligned with our own vision and goals,” he continued.

“Through this dynamic multi-stakeholder approach, the ministry believes that the results can strengthen the recycling circular economy, leading to a more sustainable future for all Malaysians.”

MAREA’s goals are also in line with the government’s vision to support local authorities to drive positive socio-economic development to ensure healthy and prosperous communities, according to the KPKT minister.

“Responsible management of waste is integral to this and this is why we are working towards achieving the country’s national recycling rate target,” he said.

“MAREA’s launch is highly laudable, bringing together FMCG member companies that are eager to lead recycling initiatives with one unified goal.”

Priority coverage areas have been identified across Malaysia for the implementation of scalable collection and recycling pilot schemes in 2022.

MAREA will collaborate with waste concessionaires and collectors across the nation, as well as other recyclers that collect post-consumer packaging materials.

The alliance will also carry out Consumer Education and Public Awareness programmes to the general public to help behaviour change by educating on the importance of recycling and separation at source.

Join us at SIAL Paris as exhibitor Join us at SIAL Paris as visitor